1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Assistance needed; Windows 7 folder preview package has stopped working with new icon

Discussion in 'General Software' started by newconroer, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. newconroer


    Jun 20, 2007
    3,831 (1.04/day)
    Thanks Received:
    [SOLVED] Windows 7 folder live icons have stopped working


    The exact reason why the system stopped using the special folder icons is unknown, I suspect it might be theme related.

    Never the less, please see second post which includes a solution(s) and also a guide.

    Hey, I'm trying to use some custom icons for all my Explorer folders. However when I do, I lose the function or ability to preview the folders. I figured this out once before, and have now forgotten.

    The top icon of the below picture, is what the Explorer folders currently look like. The preview works, but the icon is wrong.
    The bottom icon is the green custom I want(though the larger size obviously) however there's no preview.

    I am aware of something called 'open, closed, front and back' folders but it seems more advanced than just selecting an icon from the System32 directory(or wherever for that matter).

    I have heard of icon packagers, but I'd rather not install anything extra for this if possible.

    Additionally, I think it was a part of a theme. I know you can allow a theme to change desktop icons, but what about Explorer icons? The theme I had then, is the one I have now, but something has changed!

    Attached Files:

    • 1.jpg
      File size:
      24.2 KB
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
    10 Year Member at TPU
  2. newconroer


    Jun 20, 2007
    3,831 (1.04/day)
    Thanks Received:

    The official name for the folder system is called 'Live' (not to be confused with Windows Live).
    What this entails is that each folder has a graphic for the front and back, as well as a graphic for an empty folder and a folder with data in it. They are stored in a .dll in the system 32 (and syswow64 respectively) folder called imageres.dll

    You can quickly test this by right clicking on a file, selecting properties then the customize tab. From there click on the bottom option of Change Icon
    You will get a new window as shown here, with a data path and a Browse button. Change the shell32.dll to imageres.dll and hit enter. You will then see a new set of icons appear. Take note of the four circled in the picture; they are used for the live content.
    You can get a better example in the second picture showing the four icons.



    Keep in mind, you don't necessarily have to do anything with the .dll files, there are other, easier options.

    If you want to adjust these icons you have several methods(assuming you've already downloaded some icons)

    Please note that there are two parts to this, however they are unrelated and do not require one another to work.
    The purpose of splitting these is because people want different things.
    Part I will talk about options to modify Explorer so that you can have a custom icon when viewing Extra Large, Large, and Medium icons with thumbnails.
    Part II will show you how to modify Explorer so that you can have a custom icon when viewing Small, List and Detail

    Before you start, navigate to your C:\Windows\System32 (for 64 bit users, do this also for C:\Windows\SysWOW64) and make a copy of these files and store them somewhere safe:


    Part I

    This is the where we look at a few different methods to modifying the icons for when viewing with thumbnails. This would be for the sizes of Extra Large, Large, and Medium.

    A) Use an icon package installer like Stardock's Icon Packager
    B) Use a .dll modifier such as Restorator 2007
    C) Use a multifaceted tool like Tuneup Utilities 2011
    D) Use an icon installer created by the author of the icons such as Mr Grim's http://mrgrim01.deviantart.com (Scroll down the left side, icon packs will be there, lots of them!)

    A - Only use this if you want to do a full icon makeover for windows through a proper package often known as .ip or .tip Reports are that people who only modify a few icons manually, end up having all Windows icons trashed by a bug with Icon packager program.

    B - This might take a few moments to figure out, though there's enough tutorials out there on what to do. The main point is that this is the best method if you want to modify the specific icons and have them compiled back into a .dll file. Essentially you would modify your shell32 or imageres.dll file and then save it over the old one.

    C- Using Tuneup is a quick and easy way to adjust one, or many Windows icons. Tuneup has an option for adjusting Windows visuals, and it should be pretty self-explanitory from there. You pick what icon you want replaced, browse for the new icon to take it's place and apply

    D- This is the easiest method overall. Follow whatever instructions the author gives. If there are none, don't worry, they often come as a .bat file which you run and follow on-screen steps. What I will advise again, is that you make sure to copy the three files:


    and store them somewhere safe. Remember to do this for the System32 and SySWoW64 folder if you're running a 64bit OS.

    If successful, with any of these methods, then depending on how many icons you replaced, you should come up with something such as this(with text of course!)

    Part II

    This is where we talk about changing the icons for all folders in Windows, when viewing them as small, detailed or list
    We have to treat this separately, because Windows treats it separately. Even if you succeed with part I, it will only apply to all other viewing settings other than the ones I've just mentioned, such as the Large size in the most recent picture above.

    The finished product should look something like this(obviously with your icon of course):

    The first step is to take the icon you wish to use for all your folders under the above conditions, and place it somewhere of your choosing. I suggest the System32 folder(I would say the same for 64 bit users as well).

    Next, we need to do a bit of registry work. If you don't want to edit it manually, I've attached a .txt file for you(see bottom of this page). Before you add it to the registry, you should right click and edit it. When it opens, you want to look for the line that says :

    replace the address with the location of where you placed YOUR icon.
    If you did as I suggested above, then it would be
    Remember to leave the quotes around the path. Don't change anything except the location to your new icon file.
    Save the file as ShellIcons.REG(note the .regexentsion)and close it. Double click and when it asks to merge say Yes

    What this will do is add an entry into the registry under
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons
    and build a new string value with the information you gave.

    Log off and back on to view the changes.

    If you want to edit this manually:

    Go to Start Menu > Run
    Type in : "Regedit" and hit enter (Regedit without quotes)
    [[[If your Start Menu does not have a run feature, then click on All Programs at the bottom of the Start Menu. Then open the Accessories folder and click on Command Prompt. When the DOS window pops up, type in Regedit and hit Enter]]]

    Once inside the registry, use the tree system on the left pane, to navigate to this final location
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons\
    (If Shell Icons does not exist, then right click on the Explorer folder in the left pane, and choose New then Key. Give it the name Shell Icons.
    Then while that new folder is highlighted, right click anywhere in the blank space on the right and select New String Value. The window will be waiting for you to give it a name, which needs to be 3 (yes as in the numerical digit 3). Now, right click on "3" and select modify. When the small window opens you will need to paste or type in the location /address of your icon file. As per above, it was recommended you place it in the System32 folder.
    Type in C:\Windows\System32\somethingXSX.ico <--your icon name

    Close the registry editor, then log off and back on.

    Again, part I and II are mutually exclusive of one another and do not have to be performed in any relation or any order to be successful.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
    10 Year Member at TPU

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)